Creator: Elizabeth Glassman (@eglassman757)
Suggested Grade Level: High School
Subject Area: Science – Biology
This 9th grade forensic science unit divides biology students into teams with the charge to solve a faculty murder. Each group has its own crime scene, suspects, and victims. The overall unit lasts three weeks and provides an opportunity to interact with every 9th grade student in the school.
Each team is armed with iPads containing Google Drive, Dropbox, Explain Everything, and iMovie. First, students are introduced to the concepts of evidence collection and chain of custody. This allows them to gain some knowledge of case proceedings before beginning to work independently. Students then navigate through the project by completing a series of tasks and labs that narrow the suspect list.
DNA profiling ultimately reveals the guilty suspect. The highlighted activities include hair analysis, fingerprint analysis, blood spatter pattern, drug analysis, karyotype analysis, blood typing and DNA profiling. Throughout the process students collect and share photos, notes, and sketches. As teams progress through the lab, they do all of this via iPad.
As a final demonstration of their learning, students collaborate to create an iMovie “Mockumentary” to demonstrate the scientific processes as well as their problem solving throughout the three weeks.
Extending the Project
This project could provide a great opportunity for collaboration with the drama and English departments. With their support on the “Mockumentary” students could also work on writing dialog, fiction, as well as drama.